The key at open for inspection time is to allow buyers to visualise how they would live in your property. This is difficult if they are overtly reminded it is your property. Remember to take down intensely personal possessions. By this I mean family photos, children’s artwork (except in their bedrooms), strong religious iconography or anything with overly sexual overtones.
During an open for inspection it’s important buyers are not more interested in looking at what’s on your walls than the house itself. This doesn’t mean totally depersonalising the property as it still needs to feel like a home.
Pets too can pose problems at open for inspection times. Many people are frightened of dogs, large or small, and lots are allergic – especially to cats. They need to be out of the house during inspections and their food bowls and litter trays placed out of sight.
Remember, Buyers also form judgements based on senses other than just sight. Subconsciously they are taking in smells and sounds. Bad odours in particular can be very off-putting.
Bathrooms and laundries need to smell fresh and look clean. You can easily buy cleaning products with pleasant aromas. Smell should also relate to function. You don’t want a kitchen smelling like a bathroom and vice-versa. A couple of drops of vanilla essence on a damp cloth and running this over your kitchen benches will do the trick. Try not to also overdo it. The old wives tale of bread baking in the oven or running the coffee percolator is generally now considered as being too contrived.
Also at open for inspections beware of children’s bedrooms. Especially teenagers. This can be a difficult issue because often children are not happy about moving to a new home and can resort to guerrilla tactics. Suffice to say bedrooms are allowed to be their own domain without being overly cluttered or smelling like dirty socks.
Try to minimise noise that is out of place. If the neighbour’s dog gets upset the first time it hears new visitors kindly ask the neighbour to keep it under control during open for inspection times. Do the same with the kid who plays the Guitar. I’m not suggesting into deceiving buyers, just to put the best face on the situation. In this spirit some light music in the background is a good idea as it is soothing and encourages a comfortable feeling.
If you live alongside a busy road you need to consider closing windows that face the noise. Better still, install some sound insulation if it is particularly bad. Remember your property will sell because it represents better value for money than a comparable property in a quieter location. That is probably why you bought it.
Also consider the best time to show off your property at open for inspections. Twilight photography looks great however is it worth having mid-week OFI’s after work? Or is it best to focus on weekend day time open for inspection times when most buyers appear to be doing their rounds.
Most importantly and above all clean. Nothing conveys a better sense of care to buyers than cleanliness. You can do this yourself at minimal cost. It’s also worth having outside walls, like the facade, paths and driveway, professionally cleaned. Don’t forget to clean the windows, both inside and out. Following these simple procedures will ensure your home sparkles and make it irresistible to buyers.
This concludes the series of articles dedicated to home presentation.
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